Hardly any topic polarizes as much as the aggressive behavior of a dog. Statements like “It is dangerous!” or “Look how aggressive your dog is!” are heard by many dog owners as soon as their dog growls, snaps or shows its teeth. But here, education should be the first priority. Only if you as a dog owner know more about aggression and can recognize signs in your dog, you will be able to react and prevent it to protect your dog as well as your environment. So it is important to deal with the matter “dangerous dog”.
Canine behavior – normal and yet strange
Dogs bite, growl and bare their teeth. Biting, above all, can not only hurt, but depending on the situation, can become dangerous. It may seem cute for many in puppy age, when the little pug nibbles with his milk teeth on the hand. With larger dogs, however, this nibbling can really hurt. If nothing is then done to interrupt this behavior, the dog cannot learn what is allowed and what is not. By learning bite inhibition, a good foundation is laid for future dog life. The dog learns to be much more sensitive with his teeth and to use them individually according to the situation.
It is important to understand that aggression is part of a dog’s natural behavioral repertoire. They are not just for communication, rather they are part of a dog’s normal social behavior. This may not be immediately apparent when the neighbor’s dog is barking and growling at the garden fence. However, from the dog’s point of view, this behavior makes sense and is justified. Because this is, for example, about his territory and he is worried about losing it. The trick is how we humans can deal with such a situation. After all, many breeds, for example, were bred specifically to protect belongings. Nowadays, we live together with many people in a small space. Sometimes it is even more difficult for us to accept when our dogs want to follow their original tasks.
Dogs show aggression behavior in several gradations with many fine nuances. So there can be first threatening signals until it could end up in a serious fight. These many gradations should help to avoid injuries or even the death of a group member. Finally, a conflict in the group should not immediately make living together difficult or impossible.
Dangerous dog: When does the dog become a danger?
When a dog behaves aggressively towards us, we often feel personally attacked and immediately classify it as a dangerous dog. The same is also true when our dog growls and barks, for example, on the leash when a fellow dog is in sight. In such cases it is important to question why the dog shows this behavior. Because not all dogs, let alone certain dog breeds, can be classified as dangerous. It is always a matter of isolated individuals that are dangerous for specific reasons. So if we are not able to recognize, read, classify and accept normal aggressive behavior in dogs, it is difficult to distinguish it from inadequate behavior.
Inadequate behavior includes, above all, when the dog shows inappropriate aggression behavior in the given situation. Likewise biting without learned bite inhibition counts to it or the purposeful attack on the respective opposite. Many dog schools offer theory seminars or workshops on the subject of aggression and the body language and communication of the dog. There you can learn on which signs you have to pay attention and what they mean. So why not see if there is something interesting for you?
Different degrees of dog biting
If it has come to a biting incident, the question often arises afterwards why the dog has bitten. What was the motivation behind it? And why just in this intensity? How should the entire situation be assessed? Was the bite justified and appropriate to the situation? Or was this aggression inappropriate and even to be classified as dangerous?
The behavioral scientist James O’Heare, for example, has created a bite degree table in which he classifies bites into different intensities, six in number. This not only addresses the possible injuries between dogs, but also bites directed against humans. In addition, he draws a comparison between the behavior of humans and these six levels. This makes it easier for an assessor to classify canine behavior in an emergency and decide: is this a dangerous dog or not?